Christmas in July

Santa Claus arrives by trolley at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, sometime in the 1970s. It probably wasn't July, though. (John Engleman Photo)

Santa Claus arrives by trolley at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, sometime in the 1970s. It probably wasn’t July, though. (John Engleman Photo)

It recently felt like Christmas in July, when I received a large batch of vintage 35mm color negatives taken by John Engleman of Maryland for scanning and sharing here. Even more fitting, Santa Claus actually does appear in some of the photos!

While we are based in Chicago, and most of our posts feature transit from this area, we do have many readers in other locales. This first installment of photos taken by Mr. Engleman is mainly from out east (Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia) and dates to the 1970s. In addition there are some diesel photos, including passenger trains, and I strongly suspect some are from before the Amtrak era. There are also a few pictures of Seattle trolley buses.

Mr. Engleman is an excellent photographer and I hope you will enjoy the photos he has so generously shared with us. My personal favorites are the ones that show car 6119, the 1930 Baltimore Peter Witt. This was the state of the art in streetcar design, prior to development of the PCC car.

I would like to thank City Lit Books in Logan Square for inviting me to appear at their shop last Saturday to give a presentation about my new book Chicago’s Lost “L”s. I would also like to thank everyone who attended and purchased a copy.

-David Sadowski

PS- If you enjoy reading these posts, you might consider joining our Trolley Dodger Facebook Group as well. We currently have 401 members.

Recent Finds

As my friend J. J. Sedelmaier pointed out, this photo of a North Shore Line Electroliner on the north side "L" must have been taken in the early part of 1941, as it shows the train's pilot in its original configuration, prior to being enlarged.

As my friend J. J. Sedelmaier pointed out, this photo of a North Shore Line Electroliner on the north side “L” must have been taken in the early part of 1941, as it shows the train’s pilot in its original configuration, prior to being enlarged.

Eric Bronsky writes: "I own the original Kodachromes of two of the North Shore photos that appeared in the blog earlier this week. A while back, I enhanced and sharpened the attached image in Photoshop. The photographer was William E. Robertson. I cannot confirm the year because the slide mount is neither dated nor captioned. If you post it, please credit William E. Robertson photo, Eric Bronsky Collection. The other original I have is the Shore Line Route view looking south along St. Johns Ave. in Highland Park. David, a belated thank you for the copy of your Chicago's Lost "L's book. It is absolutely fascinating. Many of these places and things were gone before I became aware of them."

Eric Bronsky writes: “I own the original Kodachromes of two of the North Shore photos that appeared in the blog earlier this week. A while back, I enhanced and sharpened the attached image in Photoshop. The photographer was William E. Robertson. I cannot confirm the year because the slide mount is neither dated nor captioned. If you post it, please credit William E. Robertson photo, Eric Bronsky Collection.
The other original I have is the Shore Line Route view looking south along St. Johns Ave. in Highland Park.
David, a belated thank you for the copy of your Chicago’s Lost “L’s book. It is absolutely fascinating. Many of these places and things were gone before I became aware of them.”

I recently bought this early real photo postcard, showing a Jackson Park "L" train crossing the Illinois Central when it still used steam (pre-1926). This is the second one of these I have, and interestingly, it has less cropping than the first version I had (which is in my new book Chicago's Lost "L"s). Why is this? Well, this is a real photo made from the original negative, and not something made on a printing press. So every time a batch of these were produced, someone had to position the negative, and there was the potential to do it differently each batch. You can almost make out the car numbers here... 17, 274, and maybe 250.  Don's Rail Photos: "17 was built by Jackson & Sharpe in 1892 as SSRT 17 as a steam trailer. It was rebuilt as a MU motor car in 1898. It became CERy 17 in 1913 and retired on January 8, 1924." "274 was built by Jewett in 1905 as SSRT 274. It became CERy 274 in 1913 and became CRT 274 in 1924. It was retired on June 7, 1957." The South Side cars were not renumbered when the four "L" companies were consolidated.

I recently bought this early real photo postcard, showing a Jackson Park “L” train crossing the Illinois Central when it still used steam (pre-1926). This is the second one of these I have, and interestingly, it has less cropping than the first version I had (which is in my new book Chicago’s Lost “L”s). Why is this? Well, this is a real photo made from the original negative, and not something made on a printing press. So every time a batch of these were produced, someone had to position the negative, and there was the potential to do it differently each batch. You can almost make out the car numbers here… 17, 274, and maybe 250. Don’s Rail Photos: “17 was built by Jackson & Sharpe in 1892 as SSRT 17 as a steam trailer. It was rebuilt as a MU motor car in 1898. It became CERy 17 in 1913 and retired on January 8, 1924.” “274 was built by Jewett in 1905 as SSRT 274. It became CERy 274 in 1913 and became CRT 274 in 1924. It was retired on June 7, 1957.” The South Side cars were not renumbered when the four “L” companies were consolidated.

The Photography of John Engleman:

Red Arrow Lines in Media PA

Red Arrow car 73 (built by Brill in 1926) is now preserved at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum. Their web site notes, “Car 73 was refurbished in 1972 by the transit authority (SEPTA) and the local business association as the centerpiece of a “Media Mall” promotion in that suburban community – the regular streetcar would turn back at the edge of town, and riders would transfer to 73 for the trip along State Street. After the novelty (and funding) wore off regular trolley service was resumed in Media and car 73 was retained for charter and work service until it was declared surplus by SEPTA and acquired by PTM in 1990.”

I think that is what we see here.

Philadelphia Streetcars

It is apparent that some sort of horsing around was going on with a PCC car on New Year’s Eve one year.

National Capital Trolley Museum (Silver Springs, MD)

Johnstown, PA was the smallest city to operate PCC streetcars in the classic era, and it ran streetcars until 1960. Johnstown Traction car 352, which appears in some of these pictures, was built by St. Louis Car Company in 1925 and preserved for many years at the National Capital Trolley Museum. Unfortunately, it was destroyed in an accidental fire in 2003, along with some of the other trams seen here.

Baltimore Streetcar Museum

Seattle Trolley Buses

M. E. writes, "A group of old (but still employed) and retired Seattle trolley bus drivers and mechanics has for many years maintained and offered rides on three trolley buses from the 1930s and 1940s. I rode on a couple of those trips. They were outstanding bargains, about $5 for several hours of touring many Seattle neighborhoods. It was much fun to see heads turn when the old buses went by. The web site for this group is http://www.mehva.org . Sad to report that it appears they ran into insurance liability problems and had to cancel their excursions in 2020. Nothing yet thus far in 2021. Seattle also had acquired several old trams from Melbourne, Australia (which still has a huge tram network), and ran those trams for about a mile underneath the elevated Aurora Freeway through downtown. Alas, maybe 10+ years ago they stopped running this service. More recently, Seattle tore down the freeway."

M. E. writes, “A group of old (but still employed) and retired Seattle trolley bus drivers and mechanics has for many years maintained and offered rides on three trolley buses from the 1930s and 1940s. I rode on a couple of those trips. They were outstanding bargains, about $5 for several hours of touring many Seattle neighborhoods. It was much fun to see heads turn when the old buses went by. The web site for this group is http://www.mehva.org . Sad to report that it appears they ran into insurance liability problems and had to cancel their excursions in 2020. Nothing yet thus far in 2021.
Seattle also had acquired several old trams from Melbourne, Australia (which still has a huge tram network), and ran those trams for about a mile underneath the elevated Aurora Freeway through downtown. Alas, maybe 10+ years ago they stopped running this service. More recently, Seattle tore down the freeway.”

Diesel Trains

It’s hard to tell when some of these were taken, but I did spot a 1969 license plate on a vehicle in a couple of shots.

This photo was taken at one of the two terminals in Seattle. It is probably the King St. station, the one that is still operating. The white building in the background is the Smith Tower, which was the tallest building west of the Mississippi when it was built in 1914. Although I don't know the situation today, several years ago the elevators in Smith Tower still had human operators in the cars. But all they did was push buttons for floors.

M. E. writes, “This photo was taken at one of the two terminals in Seattle. It is probably the King St. station, the one that is still operating. The white building in the background is the Smith Tower, which was the tallest building west of the Mississippi when it was built in 1914. Although I don’t know the situation today, several years ago the elevators in Smith Tower still had human operators in the cars. But all they did was push buttons for floors.”

Again, I would like to thank John Engleman for sharing all these great classic photos with our readers. Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

On July 16th, I was invited to appear on the Dave Plier Show on WGN radio, to discuss Chicago’s Lost “L”s. You can hear that discussion here.

Our Latest Book, Now Available:

Chicago’s Lost “L”s

From the back cover:

Chicago’s system of elevated railways, known locally as the “L,” has run continuously since 1892 and, like the city, has never stood still. It helped neighborhoods grow, brought their increasingly diverse populations together, and gave the famous Loop its name. But today’s system has changed radically over the years. Chicago’s Lost “L”s tells the story of former lines such as Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Kenwood, Stockyards, Normal Park, Westchester, and Niles Center. It was once possible to take high-speed trains on the L directly to Aurora, Elgin, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The L started out as four different companies, two starting out using steam engines instead of electricity. Eventually, all four came together via the Union Loop. The L is more than a way of getting around. Its trains are a place where people meet and interact. Some say the best way to experience the city is via the L, with its second-story view. Chicago’s Lost “L”s is virtually a “secret history” of Chicago, and this is your ticket. David Sadowski grew up riding the L all over the city. He is the author of Chicago Trolleys and Building Chicago’s Subways and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog.

The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

Title Chicago’s Lost “L”s
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2021
ISBN 1467100007, 9781467100007
Length 128 pages

Chapters:
01. The South Side “L”
02. The Lake Street “L”
03. The Metropolitan “L”
04. The Northwestern “L”
05. The Union Loop
06. Lost Equipment
07. Lost Interurbans
08. Lost Terminals
09. Lost… and Found

Each copy purchased here will be signed by the author, and you will also receive a bonus facsimile of a 1926 Chicago Rapid Transit Company map, with interesting facts about the “L” on the reverse side.

The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.

For Shipping to US Addresses:

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For Shipping Elsewhere:

NEW DVD:

A Tribute to the North Shore Line

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the demise of the fabled North Shore Line interurban in January 2013, Jeffrey L. Wien and Bradley Criss made a very thorough and professional video presentation, covering the entire route between Chicago and Milwaukee and then some. Sadly, both men are gone now, but their work remains, making this video a tribute to them, as much as it is a tribute to the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee.

Jeff drew on his own vast collections of movie films, both his own and others such as the late William C. Hoffman, wrote and gave the narration. Bradley acted as video editor, and added authentic sound effects from archival recordings of the North Shore Line.

It was always Jeff’s intention to make this video available to the public, but unfortunately, this did not happen in his lifetime. Now, as the caretakers of Jeff’s railfan legacy, we are proud to offer this excellent two-hour program to you for the first time.  The result is a fitting tribute to what Jeff called his “Perpetual Adoration,” which was the name of a stop on the interurban.

Jeff was a wholehearted supporter of our activities, and the proceeds from the sale of this disc will help defray some of the expenses of keeping the Trolley Dodger web site going.

Total time – 121:22

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.99 (Includes shipping within the United States)

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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Red Arrow in West Chester

Double-ended Red Arrow 13 at the end of the line in West Chester (Gay and High Streets) circa 1954.

Double-ended Red Arrow 13 at the end of the line in West Chester (Gay and High Streets) circa 1954.

The same location today.

The same location today.

The Red Arrow Lines in Philadelphia’s western suburbs are a real example of perseverance. Privately owned and operated until 1970, and now by SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority), Red Arrow (or, as it was known for some time, the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company) can trace its origins back to 1848.

Only two lines (Media and Sharon Hill) remain of its vaunted interurban network. The smaller Ardmore trolley was replaced by bus at the end of 1966, with its private right-of-way portion converted into a dedicated busway.

Today, we celebrate the Red Arrow with some classic pictures, mainly featuring its longest line, between 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby and West Chester. This is a distance of some 19 miles end to end along West Chester Pike.

The West Chester line was to some degree a victim of its own success. It helped stimulate growth in the region to such an extent that West Chester Pike was widened in 1954, displacing the trolley. It was replaced by buses.

The Red Arrow story is made all the more remarkable when you consider that much of this line was single-track, and still does not provide a one-seat ride into downtown Philadelphia. Riders must change trains at 69th Street Terminal and ride the Market-Frankford subway into town.

Lack of a one-seat ride into Chicago’s Loop is widely credited with killing off the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban, which ended passenger service in 1957. But Red Arrow has never had a one-seat ride and its service continues to this day.

Much credit for its survival must go to Merritt H. Taylor, Jr. (1922-2010), who guided it into the modern era, and finally had little choice but to sell out to SEPTA. Red Arrow was one of the very last holdouts against public ownership and set a very high standard for the industry.

From what I have heard, Merritt Taylor was something of a “closet railfan,” who learned to operate the cars as a youth and sometimes took them out for late-night “joy rides” to West Chester.

In 1954, Philadelphia Suburban Transportation purchased the Philadelphia and Western, which operated the Norristown High-Speed Line. This 13 1/2 mile long, grade-separated third-rail route also continues today under SEPTA.

Until 1956, the Norristown line included a branch to Strafford, which gave name to the famous Strafford cars that ran alongside the more well-known Bullets. Today, SEPTA is working on plans to extend the High-speed Line to King of Prussia.

For the longest time, Red Arrow favored J. G. Brill railcars, which were built in nearby Philadelphia, including Master Units and Brilliners in the 1930s and 40s. But with that firm’s exit from the market in the early 1940s, there was one order of double-ended cars circa 1949, made by St. Louis Car Company.

Although those cars had styling very much like PCC streetcars, they had conventional interurban running gear and are thus not technically considered “true” PCCs. Service on the Media and Sharon Hill lines is handled by 29 modern Kawasaki cars, built in 1981.

We hope that you will enjoy this trip down memory lane in the Keystone State. Meanwhile, back here in Chicago, one can only wonder what fate might have awaited the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin if it had been run by Merritt Taylor, Jr. in the 1950s. For all we know, it might still be with us in some form.

As for West Chester, SEPTA ran commuter rail service there until 1986, when it was cut back due to deteriorating track conditions. There are hopes for restoring service by the year 2040. Meanwhile, the bus service that replaced the West Chester trolley remains popular and convenient.

You can read my 2013 report on the Media trolley centennial fantrip here. (Videos are here.)

-David Sadowski

PS- You can read an interesting report on the Ardmore line and its busway successor here.

Red Arrow 78 and 80 in 1959. These were Brill-built “Master Units.” Garrett Patterson adds, “It might be pointed out with the second image, that both 78 & 80 operate to this day, #78 at PTM in Washington, PA, and #80 at Steamtown.”

Red Arrow 17. Michael T. Greene writes, “The first picture of Red Arrow 17 was taken in Media, probably at the end of the line, sometime starting in 1956, based on the 1956 Plymouth parked (or passing) by the trolley.” Kenneth Achtert: “The shot of #17 is at the end of the line in Media (Orange St.) as evidenced by the two poles raised as the operator is in the process of changing ends.”

350 W. State Street in Media, the end of the Media light rail line.

350 W. State Street in Media, the end of the Media light rail line.

Near 69th Street Terminal. This is where the Ardore and West Chester lines (left) converged with Media and Sharon Hill (right). Over the years, the tracks to the left have been cut back to just a few short blocks where cars can be stored.

Near 69th Street Terminal. This is where the Ardore and West Chester lines (left) converged with Media and Sharon Hill (right). Over the years, the tracks to the left have been cut back to just a few short blocks where cars can be stored.

Brilliner 6 in Ardmore service near 69th Street Terminal circa 1954.

Brilliner 6 in Ardmore service near 69th Street Terminal circa 1954.

Near 69th Street Terminal.

Near 69th Street Terminal.

A Brilliner near 69th Street Terminal.

A Brilliner near 69th Street Terminal.

A West Chester car at 63rd and Market in 1905. (Robert Foley, Jr. Collection)

A West Chester car at 63rd and Market in 1905. (Robert Foley, Jr. Collection)

Car 12 at a passing siding along West Chester Pike circa 1954.

Car 12 at a passing siding along West Chester Pike circa 1954.

Near 69th Street Terminal circa 1954.

Near 69th Street Terminal circa 1954.

Car 12 at a passing siding along West Chester Pike circa 1954.

Car 12 at a passing siding along West Chester Pike circa 1954.

Brilliner 3 at the end of the line in West Chester, circa 1954. This car is an Express. There were many photos taken here over the years, by the W. T. Grant dime store. The line was single track going into town.

Brilliner 3 at the end of the line in West Chester, circa 1954. This car is an Express. There were many photos taken here over the years, by the W. T. Grant dime store. The line was single track going into town.

An outbound car in “side of the road” operation along West Chester Pike, circa 1954. Matt Nawn: “The scene of #22 outbound along West Chester Pike appears to be near Broomall. The homes along this part of West Chester Pike look much the same today. Zooming in on the photo, a former Acme store near the intersection of West Chester Pike and PA Route 320 can be seen in the background. “

The same location today. That certainly appears to be the same house at right. We are looking west on West Chester Pike in Broomall, just east of PA Route 320.

The same location today. That certainly appears to be the same house at right. We are looking west on West Chester Pike in Broomall, just east of PA Route 320.

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Near 69th Street Terminal.

Near 69th Street Terminal.

A Sharon Hill train at 69th Street Terminal, circa 1954. Garrett Patterson: “Sharon Hill Train of Center Doors was most likely a School Tripper servicing Archbishop Pendergast (girls) and Msgr. Bonner (boys) at Lansdowne Ave.” On the other hand, Matt Nawn says, “The two-car train of center door cars is probably a few years too early to be a school tripper to Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast High Schools (combined into one school in recent years). These schools did not open until the late 1950s.”

Double-end car 14, a product of St. Louis Car Company, signed for Sharon Hill in the 69th Street Terminal circa 1954. Garrett Patterson: “Where #14 is shown loading at 69th St., the track was paved to street rail condition days before the cessation of West Chester car service for the startup of the W Bus which took its place.”

Caption: 2 car “MU” Train, which operated along with an extra single car behind it on the last rail trip (by MPRA Club) to West Chester, PA., Sunday, June 6, 1954.

Car 12 in August 1952. Garrett Patterson: “Llanerch Car house.” Kenneth Achtert: “That shot of #12 in August 1952 would be at the Llanerch car barn. The street at the top of the hill behind the cars is West Chester Pike, and the car barn structure is to the right out of the frame.” (Arthur B. Johnson Photo)

This postcard, showing the end of the line in West Chester, was mailed in 1907. The view is the opposite of the one shown at the top of this page. Caption: “You might take the early trolley to Atlantic. Think the photo is something worth having, thanks.”

The same view today. That's the Greentree building at left, built around 1930.

The same view today. That’s the Greentree building at left, built around 1930.

Red Arrow 41 on the West Chester line in 1945.

Red Arrow 41 on the West Chester line in 1945.

Cars 14, 20 and 68 at a photo stop along the West Chester line on the June 6, 1954 NRHS fantrip.

Cars 14, 20 and 68 at a photo stop along the West Chester line on the June 6, 1954 NRHS fantrip.

Brill “Master Unit” 78, built in 1932, at the West Chester end of the line on August 24, 1941. This car is now preserved at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington, PA.

Car 19 along West Chester Pike. What was once a “side of the road” operation is now part of the road. This long view gives you some idea of the distances involved on this 19-mile line.

Car 17 at a passing siding along West Chester Pike on April 25, 1954.

Car 17 at a passing siding along West Chester Pike on April 25, 1954.

Car 66 (plus one) at Edgemont Siding on the West Chester line.

Car 66 (plus one) at Edgemont Siding on the West Chester line.

Cars 14 and 15 running in multiple unit operation at the West Chester end of the line on June 6, 1954.

Cars 14 and 15 running in multiple unit operation at the West Chester end of the line on June 6, 1954.

Cars 69 and 71 at the West Chester end of the line on June 6, 1954.

Cars 69 and 71 at the West Chester end of the line on June 6, 1954.

Cars 69 and 71 at the West Chester end of the line on June 6, 1954.

Cars 69 and 71 at the West Chester end of the line on June 6, 1954.

Cars 14 and 15 at the West Chester end of the line on June 6, 1954.

Cars 14 and 15 at the West Chester end of the line on June 6, 1954.

Young railfan with a box camera, 62 years ago.

Young railfan with a box camera, 62 years ago.

This picture shows Red Arrow Brilliner 8 and an older car at the end of the Ardmore branch on May 15, 1949. It looks like the older car is in fantrip service, while the Brilliner is the regular service car ahead of it. The Ardmore branch was replaced by buses in 1966.

This picture shows Red Arrow Brilliner 8 and an older car at the end of the Ardmore branch on May 15, 1949. It looks like the older car is in fantrip service, while the Brilliner is the regular service car ahead of it. The Ardmore branch was replaced by buses in 1966.

Here, Red Arrow Brill Master Unit 86 is the regular service car at the end of the line in West Chester, with the older fantrip car behind it. Again, the date is May 15, 1949.

Here, Red Arrow Brill Master Unit 86 is the regular service car at the end of the line in West Chester, with the older fantrip car behind it. Again, the date is May 15, 1949.

Red Arrow 66 and 76 at St. Albans Siding in Newtown Square on June 6, 1954.

Red Arrow 66 and 76 at St. Albans Siding in Newtown Square on June 6, 1954.

Here, we see Red Arrow car 66 heading up a two-car train on May 6, 1962. This is the Clifton-Aldan stop on the Sharon Hill line.

Here, we see Red Arrow car 66 heading up a two-car train on May 6, 1962. This is the Clifton-Aldan stop on the Sharon Hill line.

The same location today.

The same location today.

Red Arrow car 21 on the private right-of-way section of the Ardmore line. Since Ardmore was converted to bus at the end of 1966, this area has been paved over to create a dedicated busway.

Red Arrow car 21 on the private right-of-way section of the Ardmore line. Since Ardmore was converted to bus at the end of 1966, this area has been paved over to create a dedicated busway.

The photo caption reads, "Two car streamline train arriving at Norristown, looking up from R. R. tracks." The date is May 12, 1935, meaning these "Bullet" cars were just a few years old.

The photo caption reads, “Two car streamline train arriving at Norristown, looking up from R. R. tracks.” The date is May 12, 1935, meaning these “Bullet” cars were just a few years old.

Although the late Merritt Taylor, Jr. may have been, in some fashion, a "closet railfan," he was also responsible for the ill-fated Railbus experiment on the Red Arrow Lines in 1967-68. This was an attempt to replace rail with buses that could also run on railroad tracks. Fortunately, the effort proved to be a failure. Taylor had found that he couldn't simply convert all his rail lines to bus service, without losing much of the rights-of-way in turn due to the terms under which rail service had started many years earlier. It turns out that the requirements of a railcar and a bus are too much different to be combined into a single vehicle. Within a couple years of this experiment, Taylor sold Red Arrow to SEPTA, and the Norristown, Media and Sharon Hill lines remain rail to this day.

Although the late Merritt Taylor, Jr. may have been, in some fashion, a “closet railfan,” he was also responsible for the ill-fated Railbus experiment on the Red Arrow Lines in 1967-68. This was an attempt to replace rail with buses that could also run on railroad tracks. Fortunately, the effort proved to be a failure. Taylor had found that he couldn’t simply convert all his rail lines to bus service, without losing much of the rights-of-way in turn due to the terms under which rail service had started many years earlier. It turns out that the requirements of a railcar and a bus are too much different to be combined into a single vehicle. Within a couple years of this experiment, Taylor sold Red Arrow to SEPTA, and the Norristown, Media and Sharon Hill lines remain rail to this day.

Red Arrow "Master Unit" 79 is inbound in 1949 on either the Media or Sharon Hill line, in spite of the sign saying Ardmore (thanks to Kenneth Achtert for that correction). He adds, "It was (still is) standard practice for Red Arrow operators, when changing ends at the outer end of their route, to set the sign on what would be the rear of the car for the inbound trip to read their next outbound destination. Thus, when the car arrived at 69th St. Terminal and went around the loop to the boarding platform the rear destination sign was already set. This was actually the more important sign, as most passengers approached the cars from the rear coming from the main terminal (and from the Market-Frankford Elevated line)." (Mark D. Meyer Photo)

Red Arrow “Master Unit” 79 is inbound in 1949 on either the Media or Sharon Hill line, in spite of the sign saying Ardmore (thanks to Kenneth Achtert for that correction). He adds, “It was (still is) standard practice for Red Arrow operators, when changing ends at the outer end of their route, to set the sign on what would be the rear of the car for the inbound trip to read their next outbound destination. Thus, when the car arrived at 69th St. Terminal and went around the loop to the boarding platform the rear destination sign was already set. This was actually the more important sign, as most passengers approached the cars from the rear coming from the main terminal (and from the Market-Frankford Elevated line).” (Mark D. Meyer Photo)

Red Arrow "Master Unit" 82 is at the 69th Street Terminal on August 8, 1948. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Red Arrow “Master Unit” 82 is at the 69th Street Terminal on August 8, 1948. (Walter Broschart Photo)

On September 12, 1959, Philadelphia Suburban Transportation 3, a 1941 "Brilliner," is on Lippincott Avenue north of County Line Road, on the short Ardmore line which was bussed in 1966.

On September 12, 1959, Philadelphia Suburban Transportation 3, a 1941 “Brilliner,” is on Lippincott Avenue north of County Line Road, on the short Ardmore line which was bussed in 1966.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka "Red Arrow") cars 5 and 14 pose at 69th Street Terminal on June 22, 1963. The car at left is a Brilliner, from the last batch of trolleys built by Brill in 1941. The car at right was built by the St. Louis Car Company in 949. Although it looks much like a PCC, it was not considered such as it had standard interurban trucks and motors. Both types of cars were double-ended.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka “Red Arrow”) cars 5 and 14 pose at 69th Street Terminal on June 22, 1963. The car at left is a Brilliner, from the last batch of trolleys built by Brill in 1941. The car at right was built by the St. Louis Car Company in 949. Although it looks much like a PCC, it was not considered such as it had standard interurban trucks and motors. Both types of cars were double-ended.

A SEPTA commuter train, ex-PRR, at West Chester in May 1979. SEPTA rail service to this station ended in 1986, but the West Chester Railroad began running a not-for-profit tourist operation of train service on weekends between West Chester and Glen Mills in 1997. (Photo by Paul Kutta)

A SEPTA commuter train, ex-PRR, at West Chester in May 1979. SEPTA rail service to this station ended in 1986, but the West Chester Railroad began running a not-for-profit tourist operation of train service on weekends between West Chester and Glen Mills in 1997. (Photo by Paul Kutta)

PS- Here is a video with many additional pictures of the Red Arrow Railbus:


A Red Arrow PCC!

Kenneth Gear writes:

I really enjoyed the latest Trolley Dodger installment about the Red Arrow Lines.

Although the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company never owned a “true” PCC, one SEPTA PCC car, number 2799, was painted in their red & cream paint scheme! This car is single ended, unlike Red Arrow cars, but it was built by the St. Louis Car Company only a year earlier than the red arrow cars.

On May 7, 1995 I rode a Wilmington (DE) Chapter NRHS fan trip using Red Arrow painted car# 2799. Here are a few pictures.

For the last ten years or so, 2799 has been in the collection of the Baltimore Streetcar Museum.

All photos by Kenneth Gear:

PCC 2799 at Woodland Avenue & 60th Street, Kingsessing, PA

PCC 2799 at Woodland Avenue & 60th Street, Kingsessing, PA.

2799 on Girard Avenue at St. Bernard, West Philadelphia, note cobble stones in road.

2799 on Girard Avenue at St. Bernard, West Philadelphia, note cobble stones in road.

2799 on Lancaster Avenue & 41st Street, Barins, PA.

2799 on Lancaster Avenue & 41st Street, Barins, PA.

2799 on Girard Avenue at Corinthian, North Philadelphia.

2799 on Girard Avenue at Corinthian, North Philadelphia.

2799 at the Market Frankford Line Girard station, Philadelphia.

2799 at the Market Frankford Line Girard station, Philadelphia.

The Red Arrow logo as applied to SEPTA PCC car # 2799.

The Red Arrow logo as applied to SEPTA PCC car # 2799.


PS- Here is a video tour of the Ardmore busway:

Also, video of West Chester trolleys:


The Chicago, Aurora & Elgin

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin 309 heads up a four-car train of woods circa 1940. This “coffee and cream” paint job is not often seen in color pictures. This one, however, has the appearance of being hand-colored, most likely not digital, either. The original was faded, which would not happen with digital. This is more like an old colorized postcard.

The CA&E Spring Road station in Elmhurst in the mid-1950s.

The CA&E Spring Road station in Elmhurst in the mid-1950s.

My guess is this 1950 CA&E scene shows the end of the line in Elgin, If so, the commuter rail coaches on the other side of the river belong to the Milwaukee Road.

My guess is this 1950 CA&E scene shows the end of the line in Elgin, If so, the commuter rail coaches on the other side of the river belong to the Milwaukee Road.

A CA&E for-car train of steels, headed up by 460. Some think this may be 25th Avenue in Bellwood.

A CA&E for-car train of steels, headed up by 460. Some think this may be 25th Avenue in Bellwood.

CA&E wood car 26. (Paul H, Stringham Photo) Don’s Rail Photos: “26 was built by Niles Car in 1902. It was modernized in June 1943 and retired in 1959.”

CA&E wood car 314 at an unknown location. Don’s Rail Photos says, “314 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1909, #404. It was modernized at an unknown date.” (Paul H. Stringham Photo)


Mystery Photo

This Chicago “mystery photo” showing two young girls is dated 1943. But where was it taken? The “L” structure in the background has some ornamentation, and we see a gate car as well as a 4000. Since the 4000s were all put onto the State Street subway when it opened in October 1943, this picture probably dates to a late snowfall in spring. So far, our best guess is this may be Independence Boulevard on the Garfield Park “L”.


Recent Correspondence

From Andre Kristopans, following up on some earlier correspondence we had regarding CTA transfer regulations:

A few items –

Half-fare for high school students started 5/10/1943. Before that half fare was strictly for 7 to 11 years old, and I guess grammar school kids, though this I have never seen actually spelled out anywhere. Until 7/23/1961 there were two kinds of student permits, those that allowed reduced rate travel 24/7 and cost $1 per year, and those that allowed travel only to and from school on school days that were issued by the schools free. I remember those – they would be accepted anywhere from about 6 to 8 am, and only within one block of the school after letout.

Transfer regulations remained remarkably constant for all the years that map transfers were in use. Basically good at points of intersection, divergence, convergence, and extension with travel only in the same general direction. Walking transfers were basically within two city blocks, such as between the 92-Foster/NW Highway bus and 151-Sheridan bus at Berwyn.

Transfers were free until 7/23/61, then charged 5 cents. This also caused two minor changes in procedures. ID checks showing that you paid the express fare were now needed on Evanston Express trains south of Loyola, and ID checks of a different sort were issued by ticket agents when they were opening and closing stations. Before, you just got a regular transfer.

The problem with CMC was that CMC fares were HIGHER than CTA’s. CSL went from 7 to 8 cents 4/20/42, while CMC and CRT were already 10. CRT went to 12 cents 5/24/46. CTA went to 10 cents 10/1/47 on surface, CMC was 20 by 10/1/52, while CTA had only hit 20 on 6/1/52. Unfortunately I do not have any better info on changes in this time period. I have a CTA listing somewhere that detailed some of this, maybe I will find it one day… When I was doing much of this research in the 1980’s, I basically just went thru the service bulletins that sometimes had fare stuff, but often not, and I never did dig thru the fares bulletins.

This much I can tell you, though: As of 10/1/47 transfers surface to surface were free, transferring to the L paid 2 cents to agent at station, as L fare was 12 cents. I do not know for sure what CMC was at the time, but coming from CMC to surface was free, to L was 2 cents to the ticket agent, so CMC fare must have been 10c as of 10/1/47. Only thing I can surmise is that CMC must have raised fares more or less as CTA did, to 13 in 1948, 15 in 1949, 17 in 1951 and 20 in 1952.

If you want to see how the transfers worked, look under irm-cta.org – documentation – service pamphlets – 02/60 transfer regulations. In some ways a very complex system, but in other ways very straight-forward and very hard to cheat.

As a note of interest – on 10/1/43 when the subway opened, the schedule for the North-South, which included Ravenswood-Loop, Wilson-Loop, Wilson-Kenwood, and Stock Yards wood car routes, called for 416 steel and 284 wood cars, 840 trainmen, 230 ticket agents, 20 switchmen, 54 towermen, 38 porters, and carried 64% (325,000) of the L system’s passengers.


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